Cardinal Daniel DiNardo discusses future of the Catholic Church

March 25, 2013 4:40:42 PM PDT
History was made 10 days ago when a new pope was elected, but local Cardinal Daniel DiNardo says it hasn't fully sunk in yet.

He's back at home for Easter week, and people of all faiths are thanking him for his service during the papal election.

"I am very pleased we have Pope Francis," DiNardo said.

A vow of secrecy prevents him from saying who he voted for, but DiNardo likes the conclave decision.

"I find him to be spontaneous, joyful and unpredictable to security service, which he must be driving crazy," DiNardo said.

Pope Francis rides with a smile but without a bulletproof shield and stops to shake hands and hold babies. His humble, tradition-breaking ways have captured hearts around the world.

"I think his media image and presence can be of great help," DiNardo said.

After taking part in the historic conclave, the cardinal watched history again this weekend with the meeting of the new pope and the now-retired Benedict.

"For those who are somehow worried about tension between Francis and Benedict, that's obviously not true," DiNardo said.

The cardinal admits he felt the weight of that history-making vote and still hasn't had enough time to digest it all.

"The 'wow' is still there more than the analysis. I am still unpacking what went on," he said. "The conclave became very clear to me the moment they locked the door, and that's when you sense 'this is momentous what's going on here.'"

DiNardo sat across from then-Cardinal Bergolio as the votes were being counted and it became obvious Bergolio would be the next pope.

"You could see him sitting there, and there was a wry smile but also this look, 'why are you doing this to me?'" DiNardo said.

Since his return, DiNardo has been awed by the reaction of Catholics and non-Catholics, three of whom spotted him in a restaurant this weekend.

"They came over to me, thanked me and none of the three were Catholic," DiNardo said. "It was amazing."

Amazing, too, that as one of the youngest cardinals he could be called to history again with another conclave in the future.

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